Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of a gorilla is surely Africa's most profound and poignant wildlife encounter.
Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda is prime mountain gorilla territory. This mountain paradise is a haven for mountain gorilla families and is ideal for close encounters and wonderful photo moments with these gentle giants
Described by many as a life-changing experience, gorilla trekking is certainly one of Africa’s most sought-after bucket-list experiences. But perhaps more importantly, your gorilla trek directly empowers a huge ongoing conservation success story.
Your gorilla trekking adventure will take you through the verdant afro-montane forests of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Of course, your main focus will be mountain gorillas (read more about these gentle giants here), but you will encounter other wonderful species, such as golden monkeys, colourful Rwenzori turacos and prehistoric three-horned chameleons - amongst others.
We provide a more detailed description of the trekking experience in the day-by-day itinerary below.
Your accommodation during the short but epic gorilla trek safari is as follows:
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge near Volcanoes National Park: This comfortable mid-range hotel is dedicated to catering for primate and volcano treks. It is a 10-minute drive from the Volcanoes HQ – the gathering place for all treks. Your en-suite rooms are large, charming and clean. Meals are buffet-style – a tasty affair. Facilities include wifi and satellite TV.
Flame Tree Village in the quiet suburb of Nyarutarama in Kigali and a 10-minute drive to Kigali International Airport. There are 20 spacious and homely villas and communal facilities include wifi, swimming pool, bar, indoor restaurant and an outdoor sitting garden area.
Number of travellers
Cost per person sharing
Transfer to and from the airport in Kigali on arrival and departure days. Two nights’ accommodation in Rwanda on full board. All meals mentioned in the itinerary (starting with lunch on arrival day to breakfast on departure day). A single entry gorilla trekking permit. All ground transportation in a 4×4 WD vehicle. English speaking driver guide. Park fees and driver guide fees. Iby’lwacu village visit. 24/7 office support.
International or local airfare and departure taxes. Excess baggage charges. Visas. Travel and medical insurance. Internet services. Items of a personal nature. Telephone calls. Laundry. Beverages. Tips/gratuities. Any activities not specified in the itinerary.
On arrival at Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and whisked off to visit some of Kigali’s main attractions. Depending on your arrival time we could incorporate the following into your visit: The Caplaki Handicrafts market (the perfect place to browse for Rwandan souvenirs), the Kimironko City Market (for colourful and tasty food) or the Gisozi Genocide Memorial & Education Centre (a vivid testimony to the people of Rwanda).
After a light lunch at a cosy Kigali restaurant, you will drive north towards Ruhengeri, and on arrival at Volcanoes National Park, you will settle in at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. Here you will have the chance to freshen up, explore your surroundings and later indulge in a delicious home-cooked dinner at the lodge’s restaurant.
Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters to meet with your gorilla trekking guides. They will brief you on the rules and etiquette of gorilla trekking and assign you to your gorilla family group.
Your gorilla trek commences in the general direction of the last sighting of your assigned family group. The trekking can take between 1 and 6 hours, and you could climb to altitudes above 7 500 feet / 2 300 metres. The terrain in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park can be muddy and slippery at times, but your experienced guides and porters will ensure that the group progresses at a pace that is comfortable for everyone, with frequent stops and opportunities to take in the views and take photographs. Temperatures typically vary from 15°C to 29°C and are rarely below 14°C or above 31°C.
Although the gorilla trekking experience can be physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery always makes trekking a worthwhile experience. Once the gorillas are located, all fatigue is forgotten - and replaced by the joy and amazement of watching the gorillas go about their daily routine. The gorilla group is likely to be chilled out, eating wild celery, indulging in grooming, or participating in some other primal social activity.
After the quickest 45 minutes of your life, you will return from your gorilla trek to the lodge for a shower, a change of clothes and some lunch before taking a slow drive back to Kigali for an overnight stay.
On arrival, you will have time to settle into your room before a well-deserved dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.
Overnight at Flame Tree Village
After breakfast you will be transferred to Kigali International Airport for your departing flight back home, or connection to your next destination.
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